Hatters could face Arsenal U21s in Trophy

All the latest news from Kenilworth Road
All the latest news from Kenilworth Road

Luton could come up against Arsenal’s U21 side in this season’s Checkatrade Trophy after the Gunners confirmed they will be entering the competition.

The EFL announced the 16 invited teams for the 2018/19 campaign today, which includes the likes of Arsenal, Manchester City, Tottenham Hotspur and Chelsea.

Four EFL clubs will have U21 sides involved this time around, with Middlesbrough, Stoke City, Swansea City and West Bromwich Albion featuring in the round one group stage draw, which will take place in July.

The invited teams were selected based on their final league position at the end of the 2017/18 season as the first 16 were invited to take part, and then subsequent teams – with Category One Academy status – invited as required.

The full list of U21 sides are: Arsenal, Brighton, Chelsea, Everton, Fulham, Leicester City, Manchester City, Middlesbrough, Newcastle United, Southampton, Stoke City, Swansea City, Tottenham Hotspur, West Bromwich Albion, West Ham United and Wolverhampton Wanderers.

EFL Chief Executive, Shaun Harvey, said: “Feedback from all levels of the game is indicating that the competition is starting to reap the benefits that we all envisaged at the outset of the revamp and I’m confident the format will continue to prosper with increasing support from clubs and their fans.

“The Checkatrade Trophy will continue to provide young players, from invited teams and EFL clubs alike, with a unique opportunity to experience first-team football and I look forward to seeing the stars of 2018/19 emerge as the competition progresses.

“The 48 EFL clubs from League One and Two all received a financial boost from the 2017/18 competition and I am confident the increasing profile, as evidenced once again by the inclusion of yet another of English football’s biggest names, will help to encourage more fans to get behind their team in this unique competition format.”

A number of minor rule changes have been confirmed this term with EFL clubs now being given the opportunity to name players who are out on loan at National League clubs, whilst invited teams will only be able to name two players who are over the age of 21 and have made more than 40 first-team appearances.

Town immediately pocket £20k for taking part, while they could earn over around £500,000 in total if they were to go all the way and win the competition.

The first round of fixtures are scheduled to take place the week commencing Monday, September 3.